The Arc Finance team, like so many others, was horrified at the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Maria, and has sought to contribute to the coordinated response by mobilizing several of its friends and partner organizations in the off-grid energy space to provide over 5,000 solar lighting products to Puerto Rico.Read
To this end, Arc reached out to the Sierra Club, a US-based environmental protection organization, as well as various product manufacturers including d.light, MpowerD, Greenlight Planet and EKOTEK, to coordinate the logistics, including financing, sending and distribution, of solar lights to the capital San Juan.
EKOTEK, a Haitian energy company, and Sogexpress (a money transfer company based in Haiti), both Arc Finance partners, enthusiastically joined this initiative, immediately launching a ‘rapid response’ shipment of 4,300 high quality, durable solar lighting systems with strong luminosity and mobile charging capacities, that arrived in Puerto Rico in the middle of November. In addition, MpowerD and d.light sent 983 and 200 portable solar lighting products respectively.
The Sierra Club was integral to this initiative with its engaged donor base and extensive network. It has frequently assisted in the delivery and on-the-ground support to local communities in the aftermath of natural disasters, including those exacerbated by climate change. Arc’s key contribution was its sector-building network capacity, ensuring that all the key players were mobilized quickly and connected so as to achieve immediate impact.
Stephan Nasr, CEO of EKOTEK, said: “When we were contacted by Arc Finance and the Sierra Club, we saw we were in a position to help and we acted on it. We want to show that there are companies in Haiti and other developing markets that are evolving along with the technologies we offer. We want to show solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico, and to demonstrate too that companies like ours care about the positive impact that our products can have. We are right here next door and we are in a position to organize and help quickly.”
Niki Armacost, Arc’s Managing Director said she was grateful that Arc’s friends were willing to coordinate so quickly in an unusual reversal of typical relief support: “This is a remarkable response: two organizations from Haiti - the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere - mobilize to help citizens of one the richest countries on earth who are facing enormous hardships right now. Solar lighting products are a godsend for those who are without power. They make people feel safe, they help businesses re-start, they prevent dependence on dangerous and dirty alternatives, and even help doctors and nurses save lives.”
She added that Arc was grateful to its friends at the Sierra Club, EKOTEK, Sogexpress d.light and MpowerD who rallied together and were willing to step up to help those whose lives are in ruin after this disaster. Efforts are continuing with other donors, energy and water filtration companies who have pledged to provide yet more assistance. Niki expressed Arc’s hope that this response could set a precedent for partnership between energy companies and others to channel immediate help to those suffering as a result of natural disasters, especially those caused by climate change.